Sounds of the Subways

World Listening Day is July 18 (which is tomorrow as I write this), and in commemoration of that, I’ve made some recordings from the subway system here in New York City. As I mentioned in a recent post I love the sounds of the subway trains and stations, and I wanted to get some of these sounds recorded so that they could be shared. So, if you’ve got about 42 minutes handy, you can listen to all eight of the recordings I’ve made, or just listen to them one at a time.

7th Avenue & 14th street

When connecting from the 1 train to the L train, one needs to take a long underground passageway that goes for about a block. This was recorded as I walked from the 1 train platform at 7th & 14th to the L train platform at 6th & 14th. It was interesting passing by two different musicians busking in the tunnel. This was recorded on a Saturday afternoon.


Chambers Street, Sunday Morning

I got up early on Sunday morning so that I could get a recording of a downtown station when nothing was going on. It got fairly quiet in the station and you can even hear the change rattling in my pocket.


Morgan Avenue Station

This is the station closest to my place in Bushwick. It is my usual entry point into the subway system. These sounds are a typical Monday morning at about 07:00.


4 Train to the L Train, 02:00

At about 02:00 on Saturday night/Sunday morning the subway system is alive with people. In fact, there is much more conversation than the rush hour (which has more crowded trains). This recording is from the Union Square station walking from the 4 train platform to the L train platform.


M Train Elevated Platform

Not all the subways are underground. Once you get out of Manhattan lots of the lines are elevated above the city. This recording– from about noon on a Monday–includes me exiting the train and walking down to the street below.


Times Square Station to Port Authority Bus Terminal

There is a long underground passage  that runs from Times Square all the way to the bus terminal at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. You go up and down a lot of stairs and pass bay more than a few trains.


Union Square to Herald Square

This recording includes the whole ride from my transfer in Union Square to me exiting the station at Herald Square. It was recorded on a Sunday night.


West 4th Street

Many different kinds of buskers play in the stations, and they continue to play regardless of the racket of trains that surrounds them. This gentlemen was playing his Erhu (which has become my new favorite instrument) late on a Monday morning beneath Greenwich Village.

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